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05 May 2015

Rain, hailstorm may squeeze the juice out of mango exports

Written by Jayant Chaudhary

Digging teeth into a succulent Indian mango is likely to get costlier for consumers abroad after unseasonal rain and hailstorms between February-end and early-April lashed themango-producing belts across the world’s largest producer during the flowering stage. The Mango Growers’ Association of India (MGAI) estimates that the damage caused is as high as 30 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, among the key mango-growing States, while Maharashtra and Gujarat, which supply nearly 12 per cent of the delectable Alphonso variety overseas, have also been hit. “We are definitely concerned due to the crop damage. There will be a domestic impact but we are not clear what will happen in terms of exports. A target is yet to be fixed but compared with last year, it is likely to be less and prices will be higher due to the limited amount of export-quality mangoes produced this year,” said a senior government official. Popular varieties sold abroad include Alphonso, Kesar, Banganapalli, Chausa and Malda varieties such as Langra and Himsagar.

Procurement prices are already up with supply shortage resulting in export-grade Alphonso mangoes selling at between Rs 3,000 and Rs 3,200 per crate (of five dozen) in Mumbai’s wholesale markets, up from Rs 1,750-1,800 at the same time last year. “We are buying at almost double the price from last year. The quality is poorer and will further impact our prices. A clearer picture will emerge in May when exports usually peak,” said Murtaza Bharmal, CEO of Pune-based MSY Traders, which sells mainly Alphonso, Kesar and Badami varieties to the UK, Bahrain and Vietnam. According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) data, exports declined 26 per cent in 2013-14 to 41,280 tonnes from 55,585 tonnes in 2012-13. A majority of Indian mangoes are sold in the UAE, followed by the EU led by importers in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. After the import ban was lifted by the EU this January, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had stated that the government expected mango exports to increase by as much as 50 per cent this fiscal.

News Source : Business Line - New Delhi, 5 May 2015

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